In the part one, we explored some of the initiatives of the Jewish community attempting to mold future Jewish leaders (mainly by funding “leadership programs”).
This really only caught my attention when a the editor of Jewish newspaper with little circulation highlighted the fact that these “future Jewish leaders” are fed a diet of personal and subjective Jewishness.
These students will be ill-equipped to lead “the people of book”, the people whom at essence are inspired by both the rationally sound mitzvot such as tzedakah (charity) and the “pre-enlightened” ones such as tefilllin (a pair of leather boxes worn during prayer).
In her recent editorial, Baila Olidort of Lubavitch.com wrote:
Our historic leadership models, Abraham and Moses, the great defenders of humankind, have taught us that Jewish leadership requires courage. Abraham was not coy about teaching monotheism in a pagan culture, and Moses (Rabbenu, our teacher) taught Torah not only as text for study and inspiration, but as a guide to live by, to enrich and enlarge us in our quest for a higher, holier existence. What can someone yearning for participation in a tradition and a legacy that are larger than life, hope for, when instead of Divine revelation, Torah becomes creative fodder for self-expression? - Baila Olidort, Lubavitch.com
The strange thing is that the students from Brandeis actually met with Baila during a visit to Crown Heights. Did she communicate her concerns to Dr. Mark Rosen, professor at the Brandeis Jewish Leadership program? Or, were her reflections the result of those meetings?
Collive.com. “Students Get Chabad Insider Tour”. COL Live Community News Service. February 19, 2013. http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=24125&alias=students-get-chabad-insider-tour.
Olidort, Baila. “Forging a Future: The Challenge of Jewish Leadership”. Lubavitch International Vol 3. No. 5. Machane Israel Lubavitch News Service. June 26, 2013. http://lubavitch.com/news/article/2038361/Forging-a-Future-The-Challenge-of-Jewish-Leadership.html.